All Things Eyewear Design

Hi All,
I am a life long eyewear designer and experienced rhino user. I wanted to start a place where people can ask and share information relating specifically to Eyewear Design and the unique challenges that come with it.


Thanks for doing this!

1 Like

Hi @graz, I’ve actually been meaning to inquire about this. I’ve experimented in eyewear design but I lack knowledge about designing for lenses. Questions:

  1. What are the design constraints for lens shape?
  2. Do design constraints change between sunglasses and corrective lenses?
  3. How difficult is it to have custom lens shapes manufactured? How does one find this service?
  4. Are there standard lens shapes that can be easily sourced?
  5. Where do you source hinges and other hardware for small batch production?

Hey Ryan,

  1. 98% of lenses are spherical and made by a very expensive mold. There are some cylindrical curve lenses and also some double curve lenses out there but are less common. the eyewear market typically functions within a few different grades of the spherical lenses. its not impossible to do custom curves which they do for helmets and other use cases, its just expensive and you’d have to justify that custom curve lens some how. which in the typical eyewear market isn’t common unless you are Oakley.

  2. for the purpose of frame design there are not major constraints; however when designing fro optical glasses you should keep in mind A) the lens curve and head curve should be the optical standard (4base) B) The lens groove would be a V bevel and not a U bevel. so they can extend the corrective lens outside the thickness off the groove. C) Eye size (i.e. area size of lens) most (not all) corrective lenses use 2 spherical surfaces, meaning in the middle of the lens where your eye is oriented the lens will have a thickness of (example) 2mm and then where the lens touches the frame the thickness may be 4mm this thickness grows as the area size gets larger. so if you have an aviator with a very wide eye size then the lens at the edge of the frame could potentially be dysfunctionally thick.

  3. Its hard. not impossible. the mold cost is in the hundreds of thousands. depending on the requirements of your project you could go to a custom helmet lens manufacturer for something that’s not necessarily traditional eyewear, or you can go to a lens manufacturer and start the talks of a custom mold. you would be looking at a minimum number of units made also to be at least 10k. alternatively start the hunt for some of the stranger molds and curves that have been made over the years. ill send you some lens companies if you like.

  4. yes. and your life will be exponentially easier if you work within this ecosystem. this goes for a lot of the eyewear design and manufacture process.

  5. if you want some just to play around with at home there are some optical part suppliers in the US (or where are you?) called McCray Optical. If you are looking for full catalogues for production hinges then start with OBE (German) or VISOTTICA / COMOTECH (Italian) this will give you a god idea of whats standard, then when working with your factory you can find more niche suppliers and ideas.

hope this helps. and I can diagram anything that I didn’t explain properly



@graz Thanks for this detailed information, very interesting. I will do some research into optical standards “4base” and groove types.

Does this mean the spherical lenses are “cut” to fit the frame? Image below from McCray website, how does one process these into aesthetically pleasing lens shapes?

Are there “pre-shaped” lenses that can be sourced?

Do any lens suppliers offer CAD models of their lenses to aid in the design of frames? Can they be found elsewhere on the web?


I am interested in using standard lenses and focusing on frames for now. I would love to know about any other suppliers and manufacturers that would be useful for designing eyewear. I live in the US but am willing to order across the pond for better quality or specialty components.

No suppliers don’t give 3d’s of their lenses as they are standard. I will send you the 3dm of all the lenses.

You can’t buy “pre cut” lenses. You buy it in the circle like you put in ur comment. However it’s incredibly easy to have lenses cut. Most opticians will have either an “edging machine” (lens cutter) or they will have a relationship with a local lab that processes lens cutting for everyone in the region.

Typically most eyewear is done in projected view. Unless it’s made by injection molding, most eyewear design is done in 2d!! It’s a really rudimentary process in the factory. This is a much longer conversation.

Regarding just playing around you could design a frame, have it 3D printed and take it to an optician they will trace the rim and fit a lens in. If your going to do that hit me up I’ll tell you what you need to say to the optician, what you should print in and how to get it ready.

I might do a video on the process in rhino. @theoutside or you could! with some info from me.


1 Like

Hi Graz,
Very interesting topic.
One question: what do you mean by 4base sphere?


here are the lens curves. the typical thickness of a lens is between 1.6mm and 2mm. this file is at 1.8, very common.
LensCurves2-6Rhino6.3dm (515.0 KB)


its the term used in optical world for the curvature. there’s a way to translate it to radius, but I cant remember the constant that’s used.

1 Like

@graz Thanks so much for sharing this file. I would love to see a video tutorial on your process. If needed I would be happy to contribute some time towards light video editing or anything else to help make this happen.

I’ll ride shotgun if you’d like, i’d love to see your process. I’ve never build “real” eyewear, so I’d let you do the driving!

Really interested in this one, currently studying Industrial Design and plan on tackling eyewear for advanced prototyping.

ill script something out and see what I can fit into 1hr.

1 Like

Just light the camera and roll as long as it takes then edit later. I find the more I script, the less real info I actually covey cuz I’m over thinking it.


great advice. ok. ill have a think about it


Hello Graz, Thanks for starting this space. I am jewelry designer working in Rhino and have been wearing glasses for a long time…finally I found a shape that is now no longer made (of course) and when I go to the store to find a replacement I can’t find it…It would be awesome to figure out a way to filter out glasses and find just the shapes that work for me…can this be done? @AniKhachian @AniFineJewelry

its difficult because the shape that works for you is subjective. The filter is you. there are ways to classify the general shapes. Aviator, Cat Eye, Navigator, Round etc. So best possible is to understand your general head size and shape category that you like. Then you can search within the right area on the sights that allow that or at least it will give you the language to speak with the optician. does that make sense? did I answer your question?


I’m thinking the filter is the shape of the [Eyeglasses] and not the shape of the persons face…(

Yes precisely. The shape categories I mentioned are eyeglass shapes not face shapes.